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The ink-aficionados of the Flint Group have launched a Dual Cure version of their EkoCure ANCORA ink series, allowing printers to make a gradual switch to LED curing units.
Compliant with indirect food contact regulations EkoCure ANCORA Dual Cure enables a phased transition to UV-LED technology, which the company says in turn, brings improvements in productivity, cost savings and sustainability – without disruption.
The ink series was launched in 2016 as a low migration option within Flint Group’s range of UV-LED curable inks, targeting the food packaging sector. Today, this series is regarded as a food contact material (FCM) UV-curable ink for food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic label and flexible packaging applications.
The ink is compliant to the Nestlé guidance note on packaging inks (2018), current GMP, the Swiss Ordinance on Materials and Articles (SR 817.023.21), and the EuPIA Exclusion policy, The Plastic Regulation (EU) No 10/2011.
UV-LED curing can offer increased production time as lamps require no warming or cooling before and after operation. Speed increases of up to 25% are possible, thanks to faster curing times. It reduces energy costs by at least 50% compared with using mercury lamps on press. Also, the elimination of mercury and ozone and the reduction of ambient noise means safer working conditions as well as a smaller environmental footprint.
Additionally, for brand owners, the assurance of an effective migration barrier, made possible by the ink in combination with the substrate, may facilitate the move to lighter, easier-to-handle packaging. For example, a change from glass to film, such as pouches or blister packs, may deliver significant supply chain savings.
“There is no doubt that switching from mercury to UV-LED curing yields cost and production benefits throughout the production process,” said Catharina Aaroe, product and continuous improvement manager – narrow web, Flint Group. “The addition of EkoCure ANCORA Dual Cure inks makes these benefits accessible to food-contact and pharmaceutical value chains, combined with the assurance of compliance to the highest safety standards.”
EkoCure ANCORA Dual Cure inks are formulated at the same strength as their pure mercury-curable counterparts, making colour-matching simple when switching to the new ink. Furthermore, it is possible to run the Dual Cure inks inline with existing pure mercury-curable inks, in different positions on the press for the same job. This reduces inventory waste when switching to the new ink, as existing stocks can continue to be used in the normal way until they are ready to be replaced with new Dual Cure inks.
The series comprises an extensive offering of flexo shades, metallics and coatings. These include yellow, transparent yellow, orange, red, violet, blue and an opaque white screen ink; gold and silver, as well as gloss and matte varnishes that provide resistance against yellowing.